The Dink Network

Dink Smallwood BMP Graphics

June 22nd, 2021
Score : 7.0 good
Peasant Australia steam
I've come to get my meat 
Dink's graphics were originally rendered in Kinetix 3D Studio Max and then exported to Photoshop wherein they received extra processing, and then afterwards were obfuscated through FastFile.exe for use in the actual game engine. This zip file contains almost all of the original game's graphics in BMP format along with a license telling you what you can and can't use them for. The BMP graphics take the same directory structure as the game's original graphics minus the FastFile processing meaning you can replace the original game's graphics with these and have it almost working. If you attempt this though you'll notice soon enough that there are a few gaps that'll leave you unable to actually play the game all the way through. Notably absent in this pack are the sequences for the final boss, Seth. However one can understand why he might not necessarily want to be included as per the relatively permissive licensing. More puzzling is that the sprite for the king is missing, with no explanation provided for why this is the case.

Since its inclusion on the later releases of the Dink CD in 1998, the main use of this pack has been to allow D-mod authors to alter various BMPs for their own purposes for which it has more than sufficed, however there are two prominent irritating hindrances. The first is that all of these BMPs are from after being processed and resized in Photoshop meaning they come complete with ugly black grid shadows. The second is that they also come loaded with a 256-colour palette for the sake of conserving the incredibly limited amounts of VRAM that computers had at the time. In the case of the former, it means that the aspiring artist must either remove the shadow by hand (preferably by starting with Redink's shadow remover) and then subsequently re-apply it, or otherwise edit it accordingly with the right amount of black dots. In the case of the paletting, one must accept the fact that they are working with the end result of dithering which has stripped the original graphics of a certain amount of their detail. This is particularly noticeable in certain dark blue/grey BMPs which appear with violet dots which look horrible.

Five years later in 2003, the Dink engine source was released by RTSoft which allowed for unofficial builds that supported features such as high bit-depth BMPs which were later included in the official 1.08 update. Unfortunately we never got an updated BMP pack that allowed for these greater bit-depths to be taken advantage of and used to their full extent. Even in the case of so-called "Dink HD", the graphics are still the same 256-colour BMPs from 1998 with baked-in shadows and palette despite neither being necessary or relevant in the present day. At this point, I doubt we'll ever get a proper re-release of any of the game's graphics and so therefore must learn to live with the black grids, forever.